And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

It has been 9 years since we lost you, Dad. I love you and miss you, so much. Thank you for raising me to be a responsible and accountable man. I could not have survived the past month without your example. Thank you for the example of strength and owning my decisions. I hope I can be something resembling the great dad you are to Van Jr. and Vivie. I also hope I can be a great husband to Abbe like you were to Mom.

They need me.

Thank you, Dad.

Love,
Van Sr.

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

~ Sea-Fever by John Masefield

Happy birthday, Vivienne

I can’t believe she’s a teenager. I can already feel the avalanche of gray hairs and worrying about her. Ahh, that started long ago, like maybe 13 years ago to be exact.

Viv, you have changed me. Although you’re not always perfect, you make me want to be for you. I love you, Punkin. Now, I need to remember to get out of the way, let you make and learn from your mistakes, try to stop worrying so much, and then like you have told your audiences many times… sit, back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Funny/Interesting Links…

Evolution of “The Vanimal”

During my half marathon training, or any distance running for that matter, I always include some cross training to strengthen my legs and the muscles that help me not suck too bad on race day. I had taken on the Gorilla Marathon Master training and that went well, but I had a couple of weeks left and wanted to do something that was a little less intense than the Gorilla plan, and maybe work on the muscle groups that will help me with running posture, rather than strength.

I came up with the following… which I decided to call The Vanimal. My son hates when I call it this, because he feels as though I am sullying the Van name. Ha.

Vanimal 1.0 (repeat 5X)

  1. 1 min plank
  2. 5 mins jog
  3. 10 pull-ups
  4. 20 Russian twists
  5. 25 push-ups
  6. 100 crunches

That worked pretty well, but the crunches were maybe too easy, but not great for my back/neck. I decided to go with some knees to elbows (K2Es) to replace crunches.

Vanimal 2.0 (repeat 5X)

  1. 1 min plank
  2. 5 mins jog
  3. 10 pull-ups
  4. 20 Russian twists
  5. 25 push-ups
  6. 5 K2Es

This was good, but I wanted to remove the jog to give my legs even more rest. The K2Es have been awesome, I’m not sure there is a better workout for abdominals, especially upper abs. I also discovered deep body weight squats (also know by the less PC term third world squats), which would add some flexibility to an area that is really tough to stretch.

Vanimal 3.0 (repeat 5X)

  1. 1 min plank
  2. 1 min DBW squat
  3. 10 pull-ups
  4. 20 Russian twists
  5. 25 push-ups
  6. 5 knees to elbows

At this point, I think I might change out Russian twists for some hanging pikes and possibly change push-ups to burpees. The quantity is yet to be determined, hanging pikes are brutal – not that long ago, I was unable to even do one.

Funny/Interesting Links…

that’s my wife, that’s my hero, that’s my Abbe

See that proud lady right there? That’s my wife, Abbe.

In this photo, Abbe is holding up her medical clearance to run the Disney Marathon in January 2012. What you can’t see in this photo is Abbe’s tongue which was badly bitten from having two grand mal seizures 36 hours prior to the marathon.

I had run a half and full marathon on consecutive days that year, completing the Goofy Challenge – I was given three medals after I finished the 26.2 grueling miles. Abbe was supposed to have three medals as well, but after hitting her head during her second seizure the day prior to the half, she was not cleared to run the half. Miraculously, she was cleared by the doctors in the ER to run the full marathon the next day.

People often exclaim, “wow, a half and a full on consecutive days?” And I smile and tell them that what Abbe accomplished was 10 times more difficult than my 39.3 miles.

See that proud lady right there? That’s my hero. That’s my Abbe.

Abbe is now almost two and a half years seizure free. I am running the 2016 Philadelphia Half Marathon in honor of Abbe with Athletes vs. Epilepsy. I am seeking to raise $2311 to provide funding for research for treatments that help seizure disorder patients like Abbe. Please consider a donation if you are able to do so.

Funny/Interesting Links…

The Catch

Well, you knew one was coming… if I haven’t bugged you to watch, please consider spending 3 minutes and 40 seconds learning about why I am training so hard for the 2016 Philly Half Marathon. This video describes one of the scariest seizures Abbe had. One which, I literally caught her before she hit the pavement.

This video has a montage of pictures of what my family might have missed if I lost her that day. The music is me using as many of my pedals as possible (I need to get a new pair of studio headphones, it’s tough to get high gain tones and be able to hear the other tracks). It’s crazy to think about how far we’ve come. I’m so proud of my wife. Whenever I’m having a bad day or don’t feel like going for a training run, all I have to do is look at her beautiful face and there’s my motivation.

If you are able to do so, please consider a donation to Athletes Vs. Epilepsy.

Movie Reviews…

War Dogs – really fun to watch. Jonah Hill is great in this.

ARQ – great concept, but kind of a clusterf*ck of a movie.

Funny/Interesting Links…

Delight is scarcely longer than a letter; Disgust’s a library.

I cannot wait for this presidential election to be done. Watching everyone being so terrible to each other is pretty damn depressing. Prior to this election season, I used to like having both extremes of news channels in my social media news feeds. I want to understand where people are coming from when they have such powerful opinions.

But this election cycle has been outright carnage. In most cases, it’s not the stories themselves, it’s the comments.

The devotees of the respective left and right media channels did their jobs. Dems and Reps are successfully whipped up into angry mobs complete with pitchforks and torches. Fox and CNN/MSNBC barely even have to spin anything any more, they just ring the bell and like clockwork, the Pavlovian response comes from their constituents. You tear each other apart, and ask for seconds.

Think for yourselves, folks. You are all better than this.

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Movie Reviews…

Crimson Peak – visually stunning, pretty decent, the storytelling gets slightly clumsy at points, but good.

I am Not a Serial Killer – this was pretty decent. The acting and story were excellent, got a little weird at the end, but I’ll give it a B+ on effort and concept.

Sully – this was very good. It’s nice when a great story receives a great movie.

Funny/Interesting Links…